Things to Remember During the Teacher Hiring Season (page 2)

— The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement
Updated on May 5, 2014

Know Yourself

To create and sustain improvement and establish a strong academic culture, schools and districts need to know who they are, where they are heading, and what sort of teacher will help get them there. High-achieving schools don't just look for a "good" third-grade teacher. They know the knowledge, skills, experiences, and beliefs they are looking for in teachers, and they develop ways of uncovering those qualities through the screening and interview process. Should the applicant be familiar with a specific reform model? Is it necessary that he or she has experience with team teaching or planning? Does the school want a candidate to demonstrate a strong commitment to reaching all students? The more specific a district and school can be about the vision of the teacher they are looking for, the more likely they are to realize it.

Collinswood Language Academy, a public magnet school in North Carolina's Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, requires all applicants for English as a second language teacher positions to fill out a detailed, locally developed teacher practice survey. Questions include "Tell us how you assess children and how you use information to drive instruction" and "What would you use as a basis for designing an effective schedule of services for ELL students at Collinswood?" Some schools find that including teachers on the interview panel and using a rubric they develop together to assess applicants helps provide this focus.

Some organizations have developed programs to help educators identify effective teachers who are a good match for their school or district. The Gallup Organization's TeacherInsight-used in dozens of school districts including Milwaukee, Los Angeles, and Austin, Texas-screens teacher applicants with a battery of research-based questions that help gauge interest and aptitude. Principals in urban schools are provided with extra questions and scoring rubrics more tailored to their setting, such as "Why do you want to work in this school?" and "What students do you work with most effectively?" Says Jo Ann Miller, a seminar leader with Gallup, "There is no difference between good urban or suburban teachers except for one gift, and that is their mission. [Successful urban teachers] are driven not only to help kids grow; they have a preference for kids with challenges."

Resources: For more information on the TeacherInsight assessments, visit The Gallup Organization Web site.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Professor Martin Haberman also has developed an interview process that helps to predict urban teacher success.

Recruit, Recruit, Recruit

To succeed in finding and hiring effective teachers who are a good fit, schools should recruit aggressively throughout the school year. Advertising, employment fairs, and job banks have all shown to be effective tools in attracting teacher applicants.

Recruiting New Teachers, a Boston-based nonprofit organization, advises that district and school marketing efforts focus on teacher interests. The group calls them the "4Cs": compensation, community (culture and core values), colleagues, and curriculum. Schools should be sure to promote their strengths within these areas. One way to do this is to profile a teacher in the school recruitment brochure and explain why that teacher chose and stayed at the school.

Some schools and districts have found success by "growing their own" teachers to better ensure a good match between candidate and vacancy. The Broward County School District in Florida, for example, recently began the Urban Teacher Academy Program. Graduates from the area's high schools receive a scholarship to study education at a local college and are promised a job in the school district after they become certified. The program was started in part because out-of-state teacher recruits would often leave after a year because they felt unprepared to teach the area's many disadvantaged students (Cech, 2005).

Resources: Recruiting New Teachers Inc. provides information and advice on hiring strategies. The organization also runs the National Teacher Recruitment Clearinghouse, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to provide information and resources for prospective teachers.

The American Federation of Teachers suggests incentive plans in a 2002 article called "Attracting Well-Qualified Teachers to Struggling Schools."

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